Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sonic and White Russians

Okay, two orders of business.

First, Sonic: America's Drive-thru. We finally have one :) It opened on Wednesday... Matt and I went there for dinner on Thurs. We had to wait in line for 15 minutes to get a bay... and the drive thru line practically wrapped around the entire building. Finally! Those Sonic commercials are relevant! I'm just tickled pink by the fact that I've been seeing those commercials for years and now there's a Sonic not 10 minutes from my house. Weird and wonderful.

AND, the second order of business: White Russians. Matt turned twenty-one about two weeks ago, and he arrived home from school Thursday afternoon. So, to celebrate (after we got home from dinner) he mixed himself a White Russian. I don't think words can accurately express how weird it was to watch my brother make himself a mixed drink in our kitchen. Definitely surreal. I think that's all I have to say.

Just... two weird experiences in the same day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


This semester's celebratory, Ben and Jerry's, ice-cream-for-dinner-flavor: Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. Yummy :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Casting: heritage project

Well... this assignment was about family heritage.

However, I feel like this piece is less about my actual heritage and more about how I want to think about/remember my family. I made a heart box and filled it with little objects, each object representing a different family member, not necessarily that person's work, but how I think of him or her, what I've learned for that person, etc.

I really liked this project, both the project and what I made from the assignment, although I feel like this project got short changed in the time department. I was so focused on getting my Intermediate project done that I feel like this one has issues that I didn't have time to fix. Although, that said, I'm happy with what I made, just not the quality of it. There are a lot of things in this project that I think I think I'll revisit in later, both design elements and memories... I just wish I had had more time.

And that's all.

Printmaking: last three assignments

Alrighty, friends... this post combines my last three assignments in Printmaking I.

The top print is my second assigned intaglio print... based on an architectural arch and The Green Man. I shaped the plate with my jeweler's saw. I wanted it to be a little bit ambiguous... a little bit creepy... and a little bit fun :) I like it.

The second print is the first of my "Your Choice" prints... actually, both of my "Your Choice" prints are intaglio because I found out that I really liked intaglio printmaking... I liked the process and I liked that it suited my detail-oriented aesthetic. SO, that said this print is actually two plated combined into onto print. Again, I shaped them with my jeweler's saw... partly so that they two plated would fit together nicely, but also because I just wanted to work with shaped plates again. So, my print is of two animals (a tiger and a dragon) circling one another. Those two animals are traditionally associated with the Yin-Yang... but I took the overt Yin-Yang out of the picture to make the print a little more ambiguous and interesting.

I had a lot of trouble with this animal print because I was trying another technique along with it called schinko lie, which is where you overlay colored papers with glue to create more contrast. BUT, the shapes of the animals were so complex that after I cut out my schinko lie paper I couldn't get it to register correctly on my design. SO, what's you're looking at is like the seventh time that I printed that design, AND it is not schinko lie but relief rolled for those colors.

AND, finally, the last print is kind of inspired by my metal work... I was working on a metals piece that was inspired by the gingerbread trim on Victorian style houses. SO, I decided to make a "haunted" house print based on the same design elements. honestly, I think it is my favorite print that I made this semester. My professor thought that the moon in the corner was a little bit cliche... but I say that no haunted house is complete without an ominous moon hanging over it.

So, I had fun in that class... got to learn lots of fun and interesting things, play with acid and sharp tools... and over all, just play.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Chimera Sioree 2007

The Sioree this year was fab... just like last year, excellent food, live music, an art show, a poetry reading (of which I got to be a part of again this year).

But unlike last year, I knew more people... featured above is part of the Chimera Lit crew... me, Stacey, Doug, and Bekka. Really nice people. Anyway, after the party, we went to a bar and just did some hanging out. Sweet.

I wish I had more to tell you about the event... but what it really boils down to is this: I had a wonderful time and that's all she wrote.

Jewelry Casting: alternative material and soft wax

Okay friends, I admit, I am disastrously behind in posting. But just in case there is anyone still out there... here's the deal on my last casting project.

Our assignment was to make a piece using alternative materials and soft wax. It just so happens that I split this project into two pieces. The alternative materials could be anything from leaves, to seeds, to bugs, to toys, or food, etc etc etc.

Now, the natural objects had to be dried so that they would burn out in the kiln and leave a cavity for the molten metal. BUT, you CANNOT burn out anything that's plastic or synthetic because the burn off creates toxins in the air. So, to create my car pendant, I first had to create a plaster mold of the car and then cast the car in wax... then I could invest that wax for burn out in the kiln.

The bracelet is simply made of soft wax. I took sheet wax and then melted wax dribbles onto it. I kinda like it... in fact, I think I like it better than my car bracelet.

And as for the color. Well, that was easy enough... both of these projects were cast in bronze... So, I painted the bronze with Gesso, like the stuff that painters use to prepare a canvas, and then I used colored pencil to get the color... layers and layers of colored pencil. And that's that.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Snow = First Blizzard?

Well, Edinboro had its first snow-fall of the year today... it is really cold and miserable outside. It's funny because just a couple weeks ago one of my jewelry professors was talking about how the earliest she remembers it snowing is October 8th.

BUT, let me tell you this... the weather in Edinboro is never half-way, never mild. Fall only lasts about two weeks here, so it's either hot or cold, barely any in between. SO, of course our first snow fall would not be light and poetical. It's wet and slushy and there's a lot of it. The weather people are predicting 4-6 inches this evening and then potentially another 1-3 inches tomorrow.

All I really have to say is this: Hello, Winter!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You Know You're a College Student When...

You get crazy, insane excited that Tropicana makes a bottle of orange juice small enough to fit in you freakishly tiny refrigerator.

Yep, today I was suckin' down some orange juice, and loving it :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Printmaking: Intaglio

Intaglio is a technique in printmaking in which lines are acid etched onto a zinc plate. It is different from woodcuts and linoleum printing in that it is not a relief print. In relief printing what is cut away from the block is what does not print. However, in intaglio, the lines that you etch are the lines that print. This is because the plate is put through a printing press that exerts great pressure over it... you use a special kind of paper that is soaked in a water bath before printing to make it pliable... and the pressure of the press pushes the paper down into the is line work that you've created, picking up the ink. This is the part of the process that is illustrated by the first picture of my hand print.

However, there is another facet the process that you can add to the plate which is called aqua-tinting... that's how I got that fabulous range of greys and blacks. In this process, you cover the plate in a very fine coating of resin particulate and then bake that particulate onto the plate. After that, you re-etch the plate and depending on how long the plate is left in the acid is how dark it gets, i.e. the longer a plate is left in the acid, the darker and richer the grey/black. You get the range by coating the plate in an acid resist called hardground or asphaltum. Where the plate is covered, the acid does not etch the plate and the grey stays lighter.

Now the reason that aqua-tinting is necessary to get those nice blacks is because there has to be something on the plate to hold the ink. Before printing, all the excess ink is wiped off the plate, so if there is no texture to hold the ink, the ink will simply be wiped off and you'll get a fuzzy grey/white instead of black. Aqua-tinting is the means to create the texture. When the rosin is baked into the plate, it creates microscopic peaks and valleys, parts of the plate that are covered and parts of the plate that are not. And when the plate is put into the acid, the parts that are not covered by the rosin is eaten away by the acid, leaving tiny pocks to hold the ink.

This is by far and away my favorite technique that I've learned in printmaking so far because it allows for a lot more detail and precision and, in my opinion, expression. Instead of using awkward tools to carve something away, you basically draw on the metal with a stylus... the line quality is nicer and simply more controllable. I really liked my self-portrait, but I think this is my favorite print so far.

Intermediate Jewelry: Chasing and Repousse

All righty, here's another of my jewelry projects from my Intermediate Jewelry Studio... This was a "double" assignment: 1. use the technique of chasing and repousse, 2. make an item that's meant for body adornment. I chose to make a necklace, but my teacher worried that it was going to be too "easy", too "simple". So, hence the addition of the earrings. And actually, ironically enough, I think that I like the earrings better, although the necklace is quite stunning.

Also, for this project, I handmade the clasp and the earring findings. Everything is sterling silver.

And as for the techniques... the are actually two separate techniques that are very often used in conjunction with one another. Chasing is basically a way to add ornate line work to the front of a piece. There is a range of tools, usually "liners" that as their name implies, are used to create in-sized lines on the metal. You would first decide what you wanted your design to be, draw that design onto you metal, the putting a liner to that design, you would hit the liner with a chasing hammer, moving the tool along the line and creating the design. Now, repousse is very similar (both chasing and repousse share and require similar tools and hammers), except roupousse is done from both the front and the back of a piece, and repousse is not used simply to create line but volume. Rounded tools are used from the back of a piece to push it forward and give it 3D form.

Over all, I really enjoyed this technique. I would definitely use it again.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Printmaking: first two assignments

Here are my first two assignments from printmaking: one linoleum print and one wood cut. Both of these pictures are of my proofs (my Professor still has my editions), so the finals look a little more polished, a little more saturated.

The black/white print is the woodcut. It was my first assignment, and it was required that it was a self-portrait. I like it. It was not really so easy to make, the wood was difficult to carve... but I'm happy with the product.

And the linoleum print is of lightening strikes... I was a lot more concerned with playing with color than carving in this one, although I will say that the linoleum was much easier to carve than the wood. I like this print less... although I had more fun making this one than I did the woodcut.

Overall, though, I have to say that I'm really enjoying the class... good times.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Weirdest Thing

Okay, so at the moment, I'm (re)reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Love it! But that's not the weird part...

First, a digression: there is a movie based on this book aptly titled Ella Enchanted starring Anne Hathaway. AND, there's a part in the movie where Anne Hathaway sings "Somebody to Love."

All right, the digression is over. NOW, for some reason, because I'm reading the book, I can't seem to get that song out of my head, which is strange because besides having the title, the basic premise, and the character names in common, the book and the movie are not very similar.

I must confess that although I like the book better, I do like both the book and the movie. But it doesn't matter that the two are so different, I just can't stop hearing the song. When I wake up in the morning, I sing it to myself; on my way to class, while I'm working, while I'm reading, while I'm getting ready for bed, while I'm falling asleep, I hum it to myself. I just keep hearing it.

Is that crazy or what? I swear, living in my head is the weirdest thing sometimes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Casting: lost-wax rings

Alrighty kids, here are the rings that I made in my jewelry casting class from a technique called lost-wax casting. Meaning this: I first carved these rings out of wax, exact in every detail. Then, said rings were invested in a metal flask... the rings were attached to a flask using wax wire, then I mixed casting investment (special kind of plaster) and poured it into the flask around the ring. Oh, and I should mention that a casting flask is not like a whiskey flask... a casting flask is basically a hollow tube of steel.

So, the rings were invested... THEN, you put the flask into a kiln over night... the kiln goes up to 900* for about six hours... then up to 1200* for another 6 hours or so. During this time, the wax melts out of the flask leaving a ring-shaped impression in the now hardened investment. The flask must be cast while it is still hot... so, using tongs, the flask is taken from the kiln and put directly into a centerfuge where the metal is melted and cast.

Viola! Rings! Okay, not exactly... there's still filing and polishing involved. But that is the process in a nutshell.

The first ring was just kind of a swirly type ring with open spaces... I just kind of just playing/experimenting with that one. But the second ring... I'm very pleased with the second ring. I call it my "Prayer Ring." The outside is my version of a feather, a Native American symbol for prayers and wishes; also, one would make offers of feathers (and food and beads, etc) to the spirits to help these wishes come true. AND on the inside of the band, I carved more symbols... Things that I want for myself. I'm going to wear this second ring as much as I can.

Overall, this is definitely a process that I would turn to again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Intermediate Jewelry: mono-shell/bi-shell project

Well, kids, here's one of my first metals projects for this semester (actually, this is the second project that I've finished this semester. I finished another project in my casting class a few weeks ago (two pendants)... however, I forgot to take pictures of them and now they're backwards in the display case. SO, you're just going to have to wait for those pictures). Wow, that was a long aside.

Anyways, more information about the relevant project: this one. It is a desk set: two pens, two letter-openers, and an ink well... AND it is a four-poster bed. It was a very ambitious project... and although making it was a labor of love, I feel luke-warm about how it turned out. I can't tell you exactly why, but this project just simply isn't my favorite. Although, I think maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that it looks awkward to me and aesthetically, I think I could have made some different and better decisions.

But from a more technical standpoint, let me tell you how I made it. The posters (pens and letter-openers) are mono-shells or spiculums (which ever you prefer, both terms are correct)... they're hollow forms made of one piece of metal. One of the most important things to know about mono-shells is that they require very precise patterns... for instance, with my mono-shells, I had to make them three times before I perfected my patterns to the extent that I got a usable piece. ALSO, another interesting and unique fact about mono-shells is that they are bendable tubes... after the spiculums are formed with the help of hammers, the are actually oval tubes, not round tubes... so you can bend them with your hands and they won't crush or crimp. Thinner and longer spiculums are better candidates for this bendable property. I knew that I wasn't going to bend my spiculums, so they are neither thin nor long.

And as for the second part of the project, the bi-shell, it is basically two domes that are soldered together to form, hey, a bi-shell... like a clam or an oyster. Also, another requirement of this project is that the bi-shell has decking. Now, decking is where you cut into the seam of the bi-shell, perpendicular to the planes of the bi-shell. Okay, think about a circle, and then think about drawing a linear design into the circle and cutting that design away so that the circle is no longer a circle but another shape. It is like this with the bi-shell and decking, except that the design is cut away from both circles in the bi-shell. Then, metal is pressed into the shape of the design and soldered in to create another wall and make the form one, hollow piece. It is simpler than I make it sound... it is just a little hard to explain in words and would be easier if I was in front of you with visuals.

So, that's the hows of this project. I really enjoyed learning about these techniques and forms... although after the fact, I almost wish I had chosen to make something different with them... not quite, but almost.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mutti

Happy Birthday. I love you and wish you enough. xoxo...

The Next Time You're on Jeopardy

An interesting little tid-bit that I learned in Macro Economics:

So, we're starting to learn about Supply and Demand... and in terms of demand, when the income for any demographic goes up, the the demands for goods go up as well. In that way, demand is a function of income; they have a positive relationship; when income goes up, so does demand.

BUT (and this is the tid-bit) in the case of inferior goods the relationship is negative. When income rises (the more money people have), the demand for these goods goes down.

BEER is an inferior good. When people have more money, they tend to spend that money on wine instead.

AND BASEBALL (this is the part that I found particularly interesting) is an inferior good. When people have more money to spend, they're spending that money to see tennis, soccer, and especially football.

Is that weird or what? Yeah, I thought so too... that's why it ended up in my blog.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trader Joe's

Another quick side-note about the weekend... I visited the Trader Joe's in Pittsburgh for the first time. AWESOME!

I loved it so much that as soon as I got home, I immediately emailed the Trader Joe's Corporation and told them that they must install a store in the South Hills Area ASAP.

When I was at the store, I got chocolate-covered cashews and peach sauce and fancy Italian soda and organic shampoo and boxed noodles (microwaveable) and sushi and fruit leather and mango black tea, etc. Really just too many good things to name.

Trader Joe's better take my real estate advice, or else.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Damn You, Jetta

For breaking down an hour away from campus

For ruining a perfectly good Sunday

For giving me a headache and heart burn

For making me eat that slice of cake for dinner

(If I didn't love you so much, I'd spank you)

P.S. get better soon :(

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Brave Heart

I just (not two minutes ago) submitted a packet of six poems to The Kenyon Review for consideration and possible publication.

First, let me say that if I were to be published in that journal, I could die a happy woman. Secondly, let me say that even if I'm not published in that journal I'll definitely live to write another day. Thirdly, let me say that I feel like my heart is going to beat directly out of my chest right now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just FYI

My printmaking professor has a handle-bar mustache... with oiled curly-q's! Nice :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Favorite Movies

When I'm Sad: Mouse Hunt

When I'm Happy: Amelie

When I'm on Vacation: Happy Gilmore

Favorite Movie Based on Literature: The Shawshank Redemption

Favorite Romantic Comedy: Serendipity

Favorite Epic Romance: The Princess Bride

Favorite Doomed Romance: The Lion in Winter (the one with Patrick and Glenn)

Favorite Martial Arts Movie: Jackie Chan's The Legend of Drunken Master

Favorite Comic Book Movie: (toss-up) Batman Begins/ 300

Old-School Disney: (another toss-up) Beauty and the Beast/ Lilo and Stitch

Pixar: Cars

Favorite Claymation: (toss-up) The Nightmare Before Christmas/ Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave

Favorite Action Movie: Man on Fire (the one with Denzel)

Favorite Thriller: Wait Until Dark

Favorite Horror: I don't like Horror

Favorite Science-Fiction Movie: (yet another toss-up) Jurassic Park/ The Abyss

Favorite Fantasy: Willow

Favorite Comedy: Office Space

Favorite Sports Movie: Bend It Like Beckham

Favorite Bad-Ass Movie: Pitch Black

Just because: L.A. Confidential

Another just because: Stranger Than Fiction

The Last Just Because (I Swear): Dear Frankie

Favorite Spoof: Spaceballs

Favorite Satire: Saved!

And those are my picks (this list is subject to unqualified change without notice).

Where I Hang My Hat

Well, here it is folks... my Edinboro home for this year.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Oh, My Sanibel

Though you are 1,200 miles away, my soul will visit you every day.

(I didn't really mean for that rhyme... but the statement above (rhyme and all) accurately portrays my feelings as such).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dining in Paradise

Okay, so here's a personal restaurant guide, from me to you: all my favorite Sanibel watering holes.

Amy's Over-Easy Cafe: AWESOME! It's open for breakfast and lunch and they serve breakfast foods all day along with a selection of sandwiches, etc. And seriously, the best pancakes you'll ever eat.

The Bubble Room: The place is actually on Captiva, but it still makes the list because it is famous the world over for its atmosphere and desserts. Acutally, I'm not really a fan of this place's food because it's all greasy or smothered in some type of sauce or cheese. BUT the Bubble Bread and fantabulous dessert selection are worth the trip.

Cheeburger Cheeburger: The original Cheeburger Cheeburger, as in the first one in existence, opened on Sanibel in 1986. The best onion rings ever, plus damn fine burgers and fries, and they have milkshakes in like 45 flavors.

Gramma Dot's: A really cute little place in the Sanibel Marina. Excellent fried shrimp and fish with a bit of a gourmet flare.

The Island Cow: Very family oriented, very good, very diverse menu... but always crowded, if you don't miss the rush, you're going to wait an hour for a table.

Island Pizza and Pasta: The pizza is infinitely better than the pasta. But that said, they're pizza is amazing. Awesome crust, awesome sauce.

La Dolce Vita:
My second favorite restaurant on the planet. A little bit hoity-toity but every inch a gourmet restaurant: a fusion restaurant of Italian, Mediterranean, and Spanish flavors. I never leave that place unsatisfied.

La Vigna:
The island's version o gourmet Italian. There's nothing on the menu that isn't delicious.

The Lazy Flamingo: A family oriented bar with fried fish and ribs (although the ribs are not fried, thank God), and excellent Key Lime Pie.

A family Italian place... great calamari, great pasta, great chicken and fish.

Mc T's Shrimp House and Tavern:
My favorite restaurant on the planet. You simply can't go wrong with the all you can eat Snow Crab legs and a house margurita... but they also serve awesome shrimp, chicken, and fish. ALSO, it is my personal belief that it should be Sanibel law that if you come onto the island you should not be allowed to physically leave without having a slice of Mc T's Mudpie. The world would be an infinitely better place if this were law.

The Mermaid Kitchen and Cake Factory: This place has a fun gourmet and exotic menu... good times if you're feeling a little adventurous. ALSO, the cakes are amazing: all the cakes is so dense and delicious and the icings are simply outstanding.

The Mucky Duck: This place is also on Captiva... in the style of an English Pub right on the beach... if you don't get there before 4:30 you're not getting a parking space or a table, but if you're willing to wait, then this place is worth it.

The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market: The best fish on the island because the restaurant, as the name implies, is also a fish market. PLUS, the crunchy shrimp are to die for and they have excellent desserts.

I guarantee that every single one of these places will leave you temporarily satisfied :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Road to Paradise, part II

Well, we're here :)

There is no greater feeling than crossing the causeway, no greater feeling than waking up on my island.

Plus there's the religious experience of the approach... it was strange this year because we've never driven before, but seeing the island after two days of driving... it filled me with quiet inspiration and awe and excitement and joy.

But more to the point: the "road to paradise" in this case is Summerlin, the road that leads to the causeway. In my mind, it is the best road in the U.S. In fact, I love this road so much that I've already decided that if one day I find myself the owner of a horse barn, that barn will be christened Summerlin Stables. Nice name, don't you think? I think so too... a worthy name for a worthy dream.

And I think that's why I love Sanibel so very much... it's the stuff of rest and dreams, the place where all things seem possible.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Road to Paradise and the Quest for Sonic

Well, contrary to what you might be thinking... "Sonic" refers not to Sonic the Hedgehog but, in fact, Sonic the Drive-in.

Matt and I finally got to eat at a Sonic today... after pining after the idea for years... Because, crazily enough, we see Sonic commercials all the time in PA; however, the closest Sonic is 150 miles away! Crazy or what. Anyway, wonderful... we both agree that Pittsburgh needs Sonic in the worst way: good burgers, good tots, good wraps, good limeade, good milkshakes :)

AND, how may you ask did Matt and I finally get to sample some Sonic? We're driving to Florida this year... and since we're driving through the southern states, there are more Sonics than you can shake a stick at. Nice :)

Plus, driving to Sanibel has been really nice so far (we have about 5 hours left to drive tomorrow)... the scenery has been fab, and like I said... Sonic! But honestly, I've really enjoyed the drive so far. Good times.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Bad Couple of Days

Well, as my title implies... I've been having a bad couple of days:

-Last week, my windshield wipers broke... as in stopped working... as in moved a couple of inches and then died right on my windshield. THEN, this week, there was paying to get them fixed. Yuck.
-Over the weekend, I went to a craft fair (by far my worst so far)... I made NO money, and I got rained on... more like poured on actually; the fair was in a parking lot, and it was raining so hard that I was standing in an inch of water. Thank God for tarps and water-proof canopies.
-Then, this week, I've all of a sudden become a klutz. I don't know what my deal is, bit I have cuts all over my hands, and I keep dropping things (luckily I haven't broken anything yet)... but I shouldn't have mentioned the not breaking anything because you know as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to walk downstairs and break a jar of jelly or pickles or minced garlic or something equally as messy all over the floor.

And that's all... Well, they say that bad things come in threes... and I'm hoping that this means of I'm covered for a while. Actually, I'm just praying that these happenings are signs of worse things to come. Cross your fingers for me.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

BeaveRun MotorSports Complex

I have three words for you... Vintage Race Cars. 'Nough said.

Well, actually, I have more words for you than that: seafood and linguine casserole, cheesecake with berries, tent raising, Las Vegas on wheels, '69 Camero, the pool, beef, Bobby Rahal, traffic, traffic, traffic, smoke, air freight, horse power, ignition, good times, good food, adventure.

All right: now, 'nough said.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Well, yesterday (as if you didn't know) was the 4th of July... and there were fireworks abound.

NOW, from our old house, we could see one display very well... but from our new house, we can see five separate displays (and see whispers of at least two others). Do you believe that? Neither do I. AND because we live on the lip of a valley, they all echo... it sounded like being in the American Revolution. Not that I've ever been in battle... but I imagine that the booming of five different fire works displays echoing in one valley sound a lot like one of those battles.

Standing in the dark watching the pretty lights... good times :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

My First Official Craft Fair

Hey Kids... this post is a little bit late: my first fair was the weekend of June 22-24. But alas, I'm just getting to this post now. I've just been so busy making and inventorying jewelry, getting myself together, etc.

BUT, my first fair was a really nice experience. I had excellent weather, and Matt graciously came with me to keep me company.

I wish I had more exciting things to tell you... but the truth is that it was nice and boring. I did some business and sat around in the sun and made more jewelry to sell. And that's all there is to tell. But doesn't my table look really pretty? A lot of other people thought so too. AND, I got tons of offers on my mannequin necklace stands (but of course I didn't sell them because they're mine gosh darn-it) so I went out and bought more of them so that I can sell some the next time people admire them.

And there was live music... and cotton candy... and kettle corn... and Smiley Cookies, etc.

I had a good time. I would do it again :)

Although, it's a very interesting experience... peddling your own wears. It breaks your hearts when people don't buy them... and it breaks your heart when they do. I find that my heart is very fickle about the whole matter... as if when I sell the last duplicate of a necklace or bracelet, I feel as though I'll never see the like again... which of course is not true at all (I keep records of the things I make, duplication would be easy enough if I wanted to take the time). But putting all that creative energy out there is exhilarating... and frightening. I pray often that it will all be enough one of these days.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Three Rivers Arts' Festival

So, I made my way downtown yesterday and went to the festival. AMAZING! I can't believe that I've never gone before.

There was so much neat stuff to look at and interesting artists to meet that I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I aspire and hope that I get to be one of those artists some day.

There was photography and painting and jewelry and woodwork and ceramics and papercuttings (if you've never seen papercuttings, you don't know what you're missing. They're totally sick: origami/winter snowflakes on speed, crack, and steroids all at once) and textile arts (I bought myself an awesome pair of mittens) and handmade instruments and furniture and hand blown glass and gorgeous handwoven baskets, etc. Let's just say I was glad that I had given myself a budget or else I could easily have spent my entire savings account. Ouch.

Although, I did acquire (thanks to my dad who was in town to take Matt and me to the festival) a beautiful sterling and enamel ring by artist Jenn Parnell.

I think all I really have to say about the afternoon is that I had a good time, and that if you're ever in the area when the Arts' Festival is afoot, you simply must take the time to go.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Drawing II: "midterm" update

So, it's true... I'm taking summer classes at CCAC. Not really as terrible as you would think... although I have class twice a week for five hours each. Blah.

BUT, I have been making some fine drawings. Here's a sample:

I've been working mainly in pencil and charcoal so far, but I'm hoping to use some India Ink as well. I've never used that kind of ink and it sounds like a good time. So, we'll see.

ALSO, since I'm in Drawing II, our teacher wanted our projects to be more self-motivated. So, I'm working on a series of equine portraits (all of my pony, of course:). And last week, I took a break from that for some portraiture. The portrait drawing that I included was based on a photograph by Richard Avedon.

So, good times. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Up Before Dawn

So, for reasons I don't feel the need to explain at the moment, I found myself up at 4:30 this morning... and by the time I got back to bed at 6:30, the sun had risen.

Now, this may come as a shock to many of you, but I am not an up-before-dawn kinda girl. I love sleeping-in (although, I rarely do these days). I love sleeping in almost as much as I love ice cream... but that's a really tough comparison, because I can count on one hand the things I love more than ice cream: hence the modifier, "almost."

Anyways, I had always thought (foolishly) that dawn was just dusk in reverse. Not true. They have nothing on each other. Dawn and dusk are as different from one another as the conditions that they separate.

In the morning... there is no glorious blaze, no showy display of color and brilliance... just a lightening: a cold glow and a soft haze... as if the light had forgotten about itself in the darkness, as if reemerging was its own cautious surprise.

I had no idea, but I'm glad that I know now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Blog is 100 Posts Old!

It's true. My last post marked my one-hundredth post. I just thought I would mention that.

Also, there is a cricket in my garage. I thought I would just mention that too because it troubles me. It will probably die in there... because you have no idea how freakin' hot it is in my garage. And that worries me because crickets are supposed to be good luck... do you suppose that it would be bad karma to have a cricket die in your house? I suppose I will be finding out in a day or two. OR, maybe I'll leave the door open for a while tomorrow and hope that the little bug finds its way into the outdoors.

Wow, I've thought very hard about this, huh? Oh well, that is the summer for you. Small worries, thank God for them. Although, on the other hand, I have enough on my plate without having to worry about the death of a cricket. Let's see... I still need to get myself a tax number, I still need to find a mirror, I still need to tag and inventory all the jewelry that I've made... and oh yeah, silly me, I still need to find myself craft fairs to go to. So, there's that. Plus, drawing homework.

So, really, that poor, little cricket better have the decency to leave the garage tomorrow, or I don't know, but you know... I'm sure you do.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Instant Canopy

So, I bought myself an instant canopy today... will come in very handy in the future when I'm at craft fairs, sitting in the sun all day, selling jewelry to the huddled masses.

It came in its own little carrying case, with wheels! It has a metal frame that folds out to a 12x12 canopy. So exciting!

I truly think this is my most exciting purchase of the year :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Matt and I had a brother-sister-bonding-activity today and went for sushi. Yum... Spicy Tuna Roll, Spicy California Roll, and the Mushroom Roll. Just what I wanted.

AND, did you know that although in English, the word "sushi" refers to the finished pieces of fish and rice and toppings, in Japanese the same word only refers to the vinegared rice that goes into the pieces? It's true. AND, the word "sashimi" (in Japanese) refers to the raw fish.

AND, there are three main types of sushi: 1. maki-sushi or the common sushi roll, 2. nigiri-sushi, a hand-formed mound of rice, a thin layer of wasabi, and then a slice of sushi grade sashimi. 3. temaki-sushi, a hand roll in which the sushi chef makes a cone of nori (seaweed) then stuffs the cone with rice and fish and toppings.

I've never had temaki-sushi but don't all those types sound uber-sweet? Yeah, I think so too. Raw fish and vinegared rice... good times had by all.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Okay, so last night was my first night back in my own bed... and what wakes me up at 7 in the A.M. but the gobble, gobble of wild turkeys. Do you believe it? Neither do I. I think that they were munching on the neighbor's grass seed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Art of Jim Parlin

Alrighty... Jim Parlin is my sculpture professor. He was also my 3D professor last semester. And these are a few images of his work.

We looked at some samples of Jim's work in class today, and I just thought I would share. I pirated these two images off the website for EUP's Graduate Program in Sculpture, and unfortunately, interesting though they may be, they are not a very accurate sampling of his sculpture.

When he was talking about his own work, he was talking about how saturated colors are one of his inspirations (he casts his work in metal and then painted them with oil and acrylic paints). So, as a result, many of his sculptures are incredibly vibrant and lush looking. But, again unfortunately, neither of these pictures shows this aspect of his work very well.

After today's mini-exhibition of Jim's work, I kind of think of him a Walt Whitman of sculpture... no-holds-barred, honest, in-your-face, sensual, sexual, concerned with the biology and humanity of living, concerned with the death involved in living, personal, gritty, elegant, etc. And again, I wish that I had better images to demonstrate these points. But I hope that you can follow my drift.

Both of the images above are of some of his earlier works, and lately (within the last six months) he finished a series of small figurative sculptures: very interesting and intense, portraying everything from suicide to a simple moment between a mother and daughter. And this brings me to the last point that I want to make: Jim's sculpture is intensely personal, which is why it is so moving. All the sculpture that he makes revolves around the people in his life and his personal concerns. So, I guess as Walt Whitman would say, "To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all."

Jewelry Fabrication: forging piece

Okay kids, here it is... my last metals assignment of the semester.

We were learning about forging... which is a wire based technique in which you bend, flatten, and shape the wire using hammers. Then you anneal the wire and repeat steps 1-3 until you're satisfied with what you have. If you DO NOT anneal the wire, it becomes brittle from all the pounding and may snap. Yes, annealing is very important. And annealing is very simple: just heat the metal with a torch, not all the way up to soldering temperature, but hot enough so that it has a dull glow. With copper, it will glow a light orange, and with sterling, it will glow a dull cherry color.

As for materials: amber cabochons set in copper, 16 gauge copper wire, 16 gauge brass wire, and sterling earring posts. I based the bottom part of the earrings on wind spinners... I twisted the brass and copper wires together to get that barber-shop pole type of effect, then I forged the wire twists into "horse shoes" and pulled the ends apart vertically to get that spinning effect. I soldered 4 twists together to make each spinner. The cabochons are simply bezel set in 26 gauge copper. And I also used some of my combined wire to made spiral headpins so I could solder the earring posts onto the back.

All in all, I'm very pleased. Enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Next Time You're on Jeopardy

ACCT II final? Woh buddy, that test WAS HARD! But I tell you what, the next time you're on Jeopardy and there's a category labeled "Managerial Accounting," you'll be all set. Here's what you need to know:

The Statement of Cost of Goods Manufactured:
Cost of Goods Manufactured = (Direct Materials Used + Direct Labor + Manufacturing Overhead) + Beginning-of-the-year Work-in-Process Inventory - End-of-the-year Work-in-Process Inventory. All financial statements must be written in good form with proper 3-line heading and with proper punctuation, indentation, and account titles.

Confused? Oh, we haven't even started yet.

Work-in-Process Inventory: just as the name implies, this is work in process, widgets that are being worked on.

Finished Goods Inventory: when the widgets are finished, they are moved from the Work-in-Process Inventory into the Finished Goods Inventory. From the Finished Goods Inventory, widgets can be sold to the public... in which case, said goods would be moved out of the Finished Goods inventory and recorded in an account called Cost of Goods Sold at whole sale price, then the sale would be recorded at retail price.

Direct Materials Used = Beginning-of-the-year Direct Materials Inventory + Direct Materials Purchased - End-of-the-year Direct Materials Inventory

Direct Labor: usually given in a rate per hour

Manufacturing Overhead
: includes items such as indirect labor, indirect materials, rent on the manufacturing plant, expenses for the manufacturing plant such as electricity and insurance, etc. DOES NOT included Sales Expenses such as advertisings or sales commissions OR General and Administrative Expenses such as rent on administrative offices or CEO's salary.

Indirect Labor and Indirect Materials: includes labor and materials used in maintenance of the actual manufacturing plant and equipment. For instance, say that a textile plant has weaving machines that run for about 10 hours a day, AND those machines need to be kept oiled and running smoothly. What the plant pays for oil would be an expense incurred as an indirect material, and what the plant pays workers to apply that oil would be an expense incurred as indirect labor.

Now onto Cost/Profit Analysis (Some equations you're going to need):
Sales Revenue - Variable Costs - Fixed Costs = Profit
Sales Revenue = Sales Price * Units sold
Contribution Margin = Sales Price - Variable Costs per Unit
Contribution Margin Ratio = Contribution Margin/Sales Price
Break Even Analysis (in Units) = Fixed Costs/Contribution Margin
Break Even Analysis (in Dollars) = (Fixed Costs/Contribution Margin)*Sales Price

Variable Costs: usually includes items like labor (both direct and indirect) that change based the Job Order (it takes more hours to create 100 widgets than it takes to create 10 widgets). Also includes materials (both direct and indirect) for the same reason.

Fixed Costs: includes Overhead charges, Sales Expenses, and General and Administrative Expenses... the rent on the factory and the CEO's salary are not going to change no matter how many widgets are produced in a month.

And that's really a very solid, scratch-the-surface kind of glimpse into the world of Managerial Accounting.

I know that all this accounting mumbo-jumbo sounds insane, but gosh darn-it, doesn't all this shop-talk make you hot? I know what you're saying, 'no.' But don't worry, the next time you're on jeopardy, you'll thank me. (By reading his Blog Entry, you are agreeing to pay me a retainer at the rate of $5 per minute that you spent reading said Entry. And in the event that the information written here leads to Jeopardy winnings, this message entitles me to collect 10% of said winnings before taxes).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finals Week

Things I still need to survive:
-Accounting II Exam: non-cumulative on managerial accounting
-Jewelry Project: forging (I'm making earrings)
-Algebra Exam: cumulative
-Sculpture: finish my casting project and studio clean-up
-Graphic Design: final project, Alphabet Book... I'm making a hand-scroll with desserts for every letter of the alphabet :)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ben and Jerry's for Dinner

This is a tradition that I started last semester, where on the last day of classes, I have Ben and Jerry's for dinner. And you know, considering my affinity for ice cream and my long history with higher education, I'm surprised that I didn't come up with this tradition sooner. I mean, I'm good all semester: I think, I study, I create: I work hard. So, I feel like I deserve (for just one evening) to be bad... because that's what this tradition is all about: indulgence.

Plus, the idea of ice cream for dinner will give me just the boost that I need to make it through finals week. I'm in the home stretch.

And as for the flavor... Last semester I had "Everything But The..." and right now, I'm feeling the "Cherry Garcia" vibe. But you know me, I'll probably stand in front of the ice cream case, weighing my options for about 15 minutes and then choose something completely different.

All I can really say is this: I've been awaiting (patiently) this occasion for weeks.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Jewelry Fabrication: hollow construction piece

This project was a total bitch. I'm decently happy with the out come of it... but looking back, I wish I had attempted something a little bit smaller. Because this piece was so much larger than anything I've attempted before (relatively speaking), I had the worst time soldering everything together... every time I needed to solder a joint, I had to run to my teacher for help so that she would hold a second torch on my piece so I could keep it at soldering temperature. Honestly, I'm not opposed to asking for help, but after a while, I started to feel really needy. Luckily my teacher was great, or else she might have started getting annoyed with me.

The object of the project was to make a hollow container (not necessarily a box, just anything with hollow space in it) with a historical person in mind: he or she could be basically anyone in history as long as the person was generally recognizable. I made my box for Galileo, but others chose poets and authors, religious leaders and fictional characters. So, the sky was the limit as far as that choice was concerned.

As for materials... the top, "dome of heaven" is made of brass and is riveted together then soldered to the lid. And the rest of the box is made of copper... and you can't tell from the picture, but there are star cutouts on the inside of the box... I Liver of Sulfered the inside so it would be black, then I filled the stars with blue and yellow polymer clay so the piece would have some color.

And I did incorporate some words into this piece using letter stamps... I made this piece as a wish box... so the words on the outside band of the globe read: When you wish/ The heavens tremble... and then there's a band of brass on the inside of the piece that reads: So wish hard/ and often.

And that's pretty much a snapshot of this undertaking. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Black Out

Well... I was without power for about 5 hours yesterday (for no apparent reason).

I had not idea when my lights were going to come back on, so I went to the grocery store and bought myself some of those Glade scented candles (vanilla). Nice, and they were surprisingly bright... but after a while, the scent was just incredibly overwhelming. Luckily, the night wasn't too hot, so my room wasn't hot either.

BUT, my lights went out around 6:30 and didn't some back on until 11PM, you know, just as I was drifting off to sleep ('cause what else was I supposed to do in the dark except got to bed). The electricity came back on with a pop, and I was startled by the electronic clicking sounds of my printer and refrigerator.

All in all, an interesting experience... I'm always amazed at how much quieter it is when the electricity is out. And although I really enjoyed having my evening lit by candles, I do not understand how our ancestors could have lived by candle light. Maybe if I had had a five-armed candelabra or a chandelier of candles, I might understand better... but I mean really, there's no way I'll ever know for sure.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

This Weather is Beautiful

Yes, it's true... spring returned yesterday, thanks to Pennsylvania's schizophrenic weather patterns (and Lake Erie).

I don't know how long the sun will last... but I hope for a while. It's gorgeous and a welcome change.

Monday, April 16, 2007

This Weather is Disgusting

So, we enjoyed one week of spring in March... but apparently, winter just took a short vacation because it is most certainly back in force.

Snow, snow, rain, and more snow, ever since before Easter weekend. Yuck. Where's my sun and shorts-weather? So sad. I wish the rain, rain would just go away and not come back another day, if you know what I'm saying. Oh well, if wishes were horses... (we'd all take a ride.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Certain Slant of Light

Today... the sun finally came out again. So, I went for a walk. It was beautiful... still cold, but very gorgeous and resplendent.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sculpture: clay modeling project

Just a little something that I made with my own hands :)

Step Two of this project is making a plaster mold of the clay piece and then use said mold to cast the piece in plaster. SO, in the end, I will end up with a plaster piece identical to my clay sculpture.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Well... I'm 24 and my brother is 20... but we still fight over the eggs, still fight over the dyes, and still fight over whose eggs are prettier once they've been dyed :) Good times, I wouldn't change a thing.

PLUS, there's Cadbury Cream Eggs involved. What's not to love about a holiday that has disgustingly sweet candies that taste like a heart-attack. Nothing, that's what I say... love those Cadbury Cream Eggs :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Movie Mini-Review: Blades of Glory

Flippin' sweet! I was laughing so hard that I started crying :)

Monday, April 02, 2007


Okay, so THIS, is my award winning poem :) which I read this evening.

I actually wrote this poem for and dedicated it to Andrew. The dedication doesn't appear in the book... because the design team left it off for some reason, and they had enough stuff on their plate, so I didn't press the matter. BUT, don't worry, Andrew, I made sure that everyone at the poetry reading knew that this poem was inspired by you. Do you remember, you probably don't because this was like 2-3 years ago when I still lived on Blairmont Dr... and I don't remember where we were going, but I was driving us somewhere, and we had that conversation about WHY fireflies lit up? Well, this is the poem that I wrote to answer that question.

for Andrew

Stillness feels different in the dark
like a fissure
swirling with oily flowers

I move my hand before my eyes
but the blossoms stay
I am the one who is moving now

There is a taste to this feeling
like mint
and earth and
I remember

My footsteps burn behind me
the outlaws of my traffic

I could say that the burning blinds
like a thin layer of dust
slowly appearing
hiding the tiger maple beneath sameness

Yet it is more simple to lie

I need to be in darkness
I need to close my eyes

But these are the moments
I can only have once

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Can't Stop Smiling

My poem has won a prize :) Of the three poems that were published in Chimera, one of them won a literary prize :) The magazine gives four awards annually: one for 2D art, one for 3D art, one for prose, and one for poetry... AND my poem won! I'm so excited.

All the literature was judged by poet Ruth Ellen Kocher. AND, tomorrow night (along with Chimera's launch party (live music, food, complimentary copies of Chimera's fourth book)) Ms. Kocher will be giving a reading. AND, after the reading, I will read my poem and receive the award... along with a $100 prize!

I'm so excited, I can't believe it. Not only am I now a published author, but I am an award-winning author! So excited. I can't stop smiling.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Today's Smal Miracle(s)

The sun is shining, it's 67 degrees outside, AND I'm having an awesome hair day :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Next Time You're on Jeopardy

So, in Graphic Design we've been learning about type faces and type settings, so, I've been learning a lot of new and interesting vocabulary words that I thought would come in handy the next time you're on jeopardy, or you know, at a party and want to be a sparkling conversationalist and sound really smart.

Point(s): a vertical unit of measurement, 72 points= 1 inch... a font is measured in points from the top of the Ascender, i.e. the top of the lower case "k," to the bottom of the Descender, i.e. the bottom of the lower case "p."

Pica(s): a horizontal unit of measurement, 12 points= 1 pica, 6 picas= 1 inch

Character: letter, space, or number- any unit that involves type, punctuation, etc.

X-Height: the height of a lower case letter without any ascenders or descenders, i.e. the lower case "o." Font size includes the ascenders and descenders, but the x-height carries the visual size of a font, meaning that two fonts can be the same size, but if one font has a smaller x-height, that font will look smaller even though both fonts are the same point size.

Leading: line spacing, also measured in points. Measures the space from one baseline to the next, including the next line of type. For instance, consider the previous line, being "Measures the..."; leading measures from the bottom of the upper-case "M" to the bottom of the upper-case "F" in the line starting, "For instance...." Leading does not include the measurement of any descenders because descenders reach below the baseline, although descenders are allotted for in the previous line's measurement. Complicated, I know... it would be easier for me to explain in person with visuals, etc.

Line Length: measured in picas... important, for instance, if you are writing for a magazine and have a specific column width that must be adhered to.

Alignment: arrangement of type on the page, i.e. left justification, right justification, centered, or ragged.

Kerning: the management of the space between two letters, this becomes more important with larger font sizes, 60 point or bigger, so that letters do not look too far apart or too close, etc.

Tracking: the management of the space between a series of things, whether those things be whole words or single letters. Again, becomes important with larger font sizes for the same reason.

Serif: a type of font classification. For instance, the font in this blog is a serif font... the letters have little "flags" or "triangles" on the ascenders and descenders and at a letter's termination on the baseline. Serifs are said to make a font easier to read, especially when there is body copy or large chucks of text to be read.

Sans Serif: another font classifiication, simply meaning that a font does NOT have any serifs.

And those are the basics... I'm glad that I'm not going to have to take any typography classes while I'm at Edinboro, because you have no idea how complicated this actually is... the computer does everything for us, and un-artfully I might add. Designers have a lot more to compete with than I thought. I will never look at a magazine or a poster the same way again.

We're working on type exercises in class... and when you find yourself analyzing a font based on its serifs or lack there of, it's kinda creepy. Cool that you're learning to use your eyes in a new way, but creepy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Comes to Edinboro

With no ceremony or fuss, spring arrived all in one day... loudly and with rain, turning everything sodden and soft. I love it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh GOD, My Back Itches!

No, no... my horse isn't dead; she's just rolling in the mud. Oh well.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A New Word for Your Vocabulary

Gestalt: (noun) guh-stawlt

-1. A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts. Also called gestalt phenomenon.

-2. 1922, from Ger. Gestaltqualit‰t (1890, introduced by Ger. philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from M.H.G. gestalt "form, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete pp. of stellen "to place, arrange." As a school of psychology, it was founded c.1912.

Where I found this word: In my art classes; I've heard it many times in my Graphic Design class, and my sculpture professor mentioned it today. Since it's been cropping up often in my life lately, I thought that I would mention it.

It is a psychological term that applies to how we receive/interpret new information and make sense of our surroundings. As applied to a piece of art, it means a focal point that is a key to the piece and contributes to the understanding of that piece. However, it can also mean an overarching idea or purpose with respect to a person, an organization, or any sort of project.

Usage: The gestalt of this painting is the circle in the upper-left corner; it draws your eye there first and then helps your gaze radiate out to the rest of the piece.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jewelry Fabrication: sweat soldered piece

So, here's my second official piece as a metalsmith in training.

Sweat soldering is similiar but different from the technique that I learned at the Kenyon College Craft Center: instead of putting the sheet metal face to face and then placing the solder around the seam, you metal soldering onto the back of the smaller face, then place the two pieces together, then heat them to soldering temperature until the solder flashes to the edge and you can see it at the seem.

For example, my ring. The smaller of the two faces in my ring is the top, silver face. So, to connect the sheets, I placed flux and solder on the back of the top face and melted that solder until it flowed, dredged it and put it in the pickle. THEN, I filed the solder down flat, to make sure that there wasn't too much solder on the back. THEN, I placed the smaller face, solder-side down onto the band, then heated both pieces until the solder flowed again and held the two pieces together. THEN, I bent the ring around a mandrel, soldered the joint, and dipped it in Liver of Sulfer to get that nice black color.

And that's that. I'm happy with how it turned out. Doesn't it look nice on my finger :)

Sculpture: carving project, second edition

I told ya it would happen :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Graphic Design: grid system project, parts I and II

Okay, so this is what I've been doing in Graphic Design for the first part of the semester... part II, the last picture in the series, is due this evening. The grid and the first part of the project were due a couple weeks ago.

I wish I could explain to you what these projects were about... but the truth is I'm not sure that I understand them myself. Learning about graphic design is like learning a foreign language... it goes back to the visual decision making that I learned about in 3D, but my teacher also talks a lot about intuition and feeling the decision. She talks a lot about how designers are somewhat schizophrenic, having to be crazy and free and creative while designing and then being anal and neat during execution.

All designs (magazine pages and covers, book covers, posters, billboards, t-shirts, business cards and flyers, etc), she says, all of them have an internal structure that helps the viewer make sense of what he or she is seeing... helps move the eye and create closure in the design.

NOW, the first picture in the series is a picture of my actual grid (a gird is any system of lines, straight, curved, or other wise, that helps the designer place items like text and image into the design so that those items relate to each other). The second picture is an abstract design based on my grid system. And the last picture is a translation of my design that includes text and image.

Part I and II of this project were graded on many different criteria: form, balance, unity, movement, negative space (was there charged negative space or no), contrast of scale, contrast of value, and anomaly (does the design break away from the grid in sufficient ways to create interest).

So, anyway, I don't know if that helps you understand what you're seeing, but just so you know, I had fun with these projects. Hard for me to wrap my head around but lots of fun in the making.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Heinz Hall

So, I went home this weekend to hear my brother play with the Penn State Symphonic Wind Ensemble IN HEINZ HALL! Sweet.

Okay, so, some background. Heinz Hall is almost exclusively the venue for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh's version of Carnegie Hall... less prestigious but no less grandiose. There are stucco flowers gilt with gold paint all over the place, the hall is three stories high, and there is no lack of crystal chandeliers, let me tell you. Their choir shell is spectacular, and no matter how far away you are from the stage, you can hear every little thing that the musicians do.

For more information about the PSO and more pictures of Heinz Hall, visit the PSO's Website.

And, I have to tell you that I had forgotten how good the music sounds in there: warmer, crisper. Hearing Matt play made me wish that I still had the time and the money to go hear the PSO.

BUT, bonus, Mutti and I had general admission tickets, which meant that we got to sit anywhere that we wanted. Now, I must mention that every time I've been to Heinz Hall to see the PSO, I sat in the nose-bleed section... and I'm not just using that as a cute, little term... I'm talking three stories up, touching the back of the auditorium seating. I always had fun sitting up there... but there's nothing that can beat five rows back from the stage courtesy of Penn State.

So, anyway, back to the real reason for this post: since I got to sit so close, I got a front row seat for my brother's performance. He had a semi-solo in the Ensemble's first piece, and when he stood up in recognition, he looked so proud and happy. And he looked so spiffy in his tux. And I was so happy that I could be there. AWESOME! It was so awesome, I almost cried, no joke... getting to hear my brother play in Heinz Hall. It was a religious experience.